PTSD for DST

Cory Berlekamp

Email: berlekampc@findlay.edu

Twitter: @Cberlekamp

 

Whether it is me feeling robbed of an hour of sleep or confusingly tired after gaining one, daylight savings time has always baffled me.

 

As a child, I was excited to get an extra hour of sleep early in the school year because I wasn’t used to my school schedule yet and equally as passionate about how much I hated losing that hour in the spring. As an adult, I can say that I don’t care much for it in either fashion.

 

I feel groggy no matter what Sunday it falls on and it isn’t just me.

 

According to a study done by Stanford University, there is a “small increase” in fatal car accidents the morning after spring DST (daylight savings time) which they attribute to sleep loss and an increase in accidents after fall DST that they attribute to the possibility to people drinking more or staying up later the evening before. This isn’t the only evidence against the attack on everyone’s circadian rhythms.

 

As the Society for Human Resource Management reported from the injury data collected from the U.S. Department of labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration that “40 minutes less sleep, a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68 percent more workdays lost to injuries.”

 

So we can and should be more cautious of the time change as a society but for those that have set schedules, adhering to an hour shift can feel strange. It is like coming home to your house and all of your furniture is shifted an inch and a half to the left.

 

I also have personal experience as an employee of a bar on either of those nights. People come out to party on fall DST and not in a festive way because of the extra hour they get for drinking. It is almost worst when you have to cut off people in spring an hour earlier and their reactions could only be matched by taking away the binky of a teething toddler. Just hop on Reddit to find the thread of bartenders around the U.S. talking about it.

 

So why are we still following this manmade time change? It isn’t the hardest thing to figure out but I will put it into two sentences.

 

There was an essay written about wasting daylight by Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s that had nothing to do with moving clocks forward that went away until a British guy liked it in the early twentieth century then was adopted by the Germans in 1916 and then by the U.S. during WWI. The federal government reinstated DST in WWII and after the end of the European and Japanese theatres it fell back on the states to decide who would observe it and now only Arizona and Hawaii abstain from the practice. That is the short, short version.

 

Either way, it just becomes one of those things that feel more like tradition than something actually beneficial to the American people. It also has nothing to do with farmers who use the sunrise and sunset as their clocks (do dairy cows follow DST?), for those who use that argument.

 

Winter is hard enough to get through for any of us whether it’s wartime or peace; farmer, worker, or car driver so I will absorb as much vitamin D as possible anywhere I can get it.

 

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